Pictured: Gov. Gavin Newsom in a live press conference regarding counties moving to more restrictive tiers in pandemic management plan on Nov. 16, 2020. 

by Paul Moomjean

paulmoomjean@yahoo.com

With the election now behind us, COVID-19 still with us, and a cold winter packed with usually commemorated holidays before us, 2020 isn’t celebrating a happy ending any time soon. In fact, California Governor Gavin Newsom is throwing out even more guidelines and restrictions for families who want to spend the holiday season together. With Thanksgiving a week away, families are getting a lot of information about how they should spend their social gatherings with proper social distancing. The guidelines, when first announced in late October, were met with earned mockery, but since then, Newsom has come out and stated his guidelines are just that, guidelines. I was a teacher once. If I told my students late papers weren’t accepted, that was not a guideline; it was a rule. These series of guidelines are easy for wealthy people with families, but are a nightmare for poorer people who just want to see their families. 

Newsom was mocked hard after his guidelines were announced. “I read somewhere some folks asserting we put out guidelines for the holidays. They simply were misled or, intentionally, were misleading people. We have not put out Thanksgiving guidelines.” He then promised those specific guidelines were “coming soon.” 

Until then, look at how you are supposed to spend the holidays together. These are a few of the restrictions taken directly from the California Department of Health website:

  • Gatherings that include more than three households are prohibited
  • Collect names of all attendees and contact information 
  • All gatherings must be held outside 
  • Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized
  • Gatherings may occur in outdoor spaces that are covered by umbrellas, canopies, awnings, roofs and other shade structures 
  • The space must be large enough so that everyone at a gathering can maintain at least a six-foot physical distance from others
  • A place to wash hands or hand sanitizer must be available for participants to use
  • As much as possible, any food or beverages at outdoor gatherings must be in single-serve disposable containers 
  • Gatherings should be two hours or less  
  • Singing, chanting and shouting are strongly discouraged, but if happening, gatherers should wear face coverings at all times, and sing quietly 
  • Instrumental music is allowed as long as the musicians maintain at least a six-foot physical distance. Musicians must be from one of the three households.  Playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged

Well, I guess I won’t be bringing my jazz band over for turkey day this year. 

What these guidelines really are is a way for the rich to accommodate themselves and the poor and lonely to remain isolated. How many people don’t have households to visit because their family lives in another state?  Does Newsom want people to choose between which cousins to invite without being shamed by him? What about people who already bought plane tickets months ago and they are non-refundable? 

I know this because my family lives in Washington, and with their even harder restrictions being put into effect, I had to make the choice not to go, so that my family wouldn’t potentially get in trouble, and so I wouldn’t have to self-quarantine for 14 days, as California suggests.

This type of overreach is beyond reasonable. It is one thing to create rules for places of business, as people share that space, and workers should be protected from owners and CEOs who could have no problem putting lower wage employees in harm’s way. We must have some regulations created.

But once Newsom reached into the homes of people, he went too far. He might be able to restrict the capacity of a business, but on private property, where people decide their own lifestyle choices, he needs to back off. People should not be prisoners in their own homes, with weird bathroom and food prep rules. 

It’s easy for him and his cronies to follow these guidelines. They have servants to prepare the food and build the backyard setups, and plenty of space to separate. The average California resident does not.     

With all these stupid suggestions by inept men, I can’t help but remember Ronald Reagan’s famous line. It applies today as well: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”